May 16, 2024

Acquisition is often discussed as a crucial part of any business strategy. But Michael Gillespie, who leads Customer Success here at , is aware of an overlooked element of membership business, which happens immediately after acquisition: uponboarding.

"A large portion of members are focused on the selling of the membership. However, after the sale has been made it's the time when the tough part commences!" says Michael. Those first interactions with a new customer is more important in the membership due to the component of human interaction that might not see in other industries.

What does it mean to get someone aboard successfully? "Onboarding may be specific to the membership you have. It could be something that triggers an action, such as the sending of a welcome message - but some people may just end their journey at that point," Michael explains. But he believes onboarding is meant to set the expectation. It lets a member be aware of the benefits gained from joining your group - not only immediately, but also in the following months.

"Onboarding generally is an uninvolved experience that doesn't manage to create a roadmap for members," Michael adds. The best way to approach it is by assuming that at the first touchpoint with your community the member is clueless about how to proceed. Insufficient information can create barriers that prevent new members from connecting with your membership in the way you would like them to.

Common onboarding sequences

"In an average membership, I enroll someone, I send that person a welcome email, they receive up to five or three pages of content that I want them to engage with, and I'm done," Michael says. "Members are overwhelmed or feel unserved."

Members who don't receive an onboarding plan will seldom be engaged and will often turn. But members who understand the steps to take stay committed. "It's important to create a level of intent among newly joined members" Michael says. "Tell the new members where you're going to take them on your journey to membership."

"If you're a producer, do you want people to listen to the particular podcast? Do you want them to engage with another type of media? If you're not telling your members the direction you're taking them, and more importantly why you're taking them, they'll make their way through the membership with zero intent," he explains.

onboarding for a podcast

For those who are producer Your onboarding could motivate people to participate in an episode in particular

This is the only event that causes the most members to leave in the beginning stages of membership. "You've had a window of possibility of up to 24 hours. Do you have a specific action that you would like your customer to do? Find out what you require out of onboarding and the way you can design your process to ensure you offer the right experience for each participant," he adds.

Removing barriers for the ideal travel experience

In the process of establishing your onboarding procedure, the key consideration is the intended output. "Do you want a member to move up to a higher tier that offers more advantages? Perhaps you've joined a monthly member, and your desire is to convert into a yearly membership?" Michael asks.

It could be to complete a course or read a particular article. "Most individuals aren't sure what they want to accomplish when beginning their onboarding process, do not lay the intended outputs out," he adds. "Make a list of between three and one intended outputs. Think about 'What might be the obstacles that hinder the realization of these outputs?' there are always barriers to members engaging with your organization."

The barriers could be cost, time and competition, or the three. "Folks only have a limited quantity of time. They're very busy; they are constantly distracted," Michael explains. "Is there a price barrier for upgrade options? Or, if there's an equivalent product available in the market, what is it that makes the customer choose to keep the membership instead of another?"

Even knowledge could be a barrier. "Members are often not informed about where they are supposed to be' within the group. What's the objective? Where do they want to be in the next year?" Michael asks. "The quicker members understand what's in it for them, the more quickly they'll buy into the process and help you achieve the results you want." Early engagement will help: one option for onboarding is to ask members to respond to an email welcoming them, providing details about the difficulties they're having.

Transparency: inform the members what you expect from the onboarding process - and also what advantages they'll get if they decide to take the initiative. "Don't worry about not letting members be aware of what you are trying to accomplish. Members with a high awareness of your intent will take action at the time you're asking them to. The members who are aware of your intentions will remain for the longest time," Michael smiles.

Welcome videos

The welcome emails are easy and effective onboarding tools; the majority of new members expect to receive an email right after signing up. But at we think it's possible to go further: "You have a small time to wow that person who is a member," says Michael. "Memberships that include the video of welcome during introduction have a 50 percent reduced churn rate during the first two months of membership."

Welcome videos can enhance your membership. "One of the greatest potentials in today's joining is the human element," says Michael. "Automation as well as AI-generated content are great but membership has a more personal side of it. There is something that consumers feel they're missing today within membership products, it's humans who interact."

Jay Klaus from Creator Science provides a wonderful introduction video "In his welcome email the company includes a video and he greets you. He explains why you should do what he's done and then lays out the things you can expect to see in the coming six months." Michael explains.

CVX7fG7wFAWbYtUj6dIn Jay Klaus from Creator Science has a great video of the onboarding process.

This is a great way to ignite engagement during the first stages of initial onboarding. In the case of video content, the percentage of clicks for video content is 17 times more than text hyperlinks. "Put on the front page whatever you're trying to accomplish and make it more human to the message you're sending for your audience. Create it once, then deliver it over and over again," he adds.


The onboarding email must include a plan. Create expectations about how the members gain access to benefits? Do they have a timetable for those benefits, perhaps each week? What is the best place to find these benefits - do they need to access their email account? Do they have to sign in?

"This is an easily overlooked part of membership, but letting your member know the exact details of what you're offering is crucial to limit the rate of churn during the initial 2 month," Michael explains. "Members should not be left to figure anything out by themselves."

We've seen a lot of them recently. "The welcome email contains the links to tons of wonderful content, but members get confused. If that's the case, you end up with members who aren't engaged, or you end up with a person who's lost and isn't willing to put in an effort to check out your site to find out more about the subject," He continues.

It's not possible to put too much information in front of the user when it comes to an outline. It's tempting to think that users are aware of how they can consume your content but it's safer to believe that a user knows nothing. "Explicitly outline everything in front of your users, and you'll see a lower churn rate," Michael adds.


The majority of people don't consider selling immediately upon signing up a new member. But upselling when done right is a highly impactful aspect of onboarding, and can lock in significantly higher revenues.

Michael has noticed that newly-enrolled members are the most likely to be receptive to sales within the first 24hrs to one week after they've purchased the membership. "It's easier to convert members within the first couple of days since they have all the required background information regarding the membership. They're already 'one foot in'" he says.

Upsell offers within onboarding have an entirely different position than the ones on your website. They typically don't appear on your site - they are reserved to be used for the onboarding process. "Once an individual is enrolled an active member, they feel a part of some kind of. It's a good idea to offer upsells to provide them with a better experience through additional benefits," He says.

"Let's say you have a paid newsletter that's $6 per month, and you give someone the opportunity to upgrade to a year-long option that gets them lots more value, but at an progressively lower cost per month. People who have been educated during onboarding are more likely to opt for an upgrade on their annual subscription. There are typically conversion rates that range from 30-40% for these offers," Michael reports.

Additionally, they get the entire year to consume the content you provide. For members who take advantage of these types of offers their lifetime value for the members will be anywhere approximately four to five times greater than that of those who did not respond to an upsell.

"Think about enhancing your membership experience. This could include other benefits you could make an exclusive membership plan," Michael adds. "Every membership includes a section of customers who are involved, and these members tend to be the ones most likely to convert on an upsell during the first days. You must however, present the opportunity in front these members."

The message in your welcome mail could read something like: 'This week only, we're making an opportunity for new members to purchase an exclusive pass. The offer includes three personal member coaching calls each month for an entire year.' There are two aspects to the offer: it's limited, with an exact date when it expires; It also comes with a huge discount.

Upsells reduce the probability of churn in the near future. "Members who sign up for the 60% off the cost of the cost of a year's membership in the first week of membership will be 80% more likely to remain a member two years in the future," Michael reports. "The upsell only has to increase incrementally in cost. However, statistically speaking, those who sign up for the upgrade are long-term members, and that means more revenue to your business."

The conversion rates of upsells for the onboarding program are seven to 10 times higher than for first-time purchases. "If you're able to achieve a three% conversion rate on your regular membership, once you've enrolled these members into the program, you may expect a 30% increase in conversion rates," Michael explains. With upsells during the onboarding process, your members can earn five times the revenue from your membership on average than someone who does not get the benefit of an upsell.


In terms of pricing from a pricing perspective, we recommend that you do not exceed 50% with regard to the increment.

"For example, I'm a year-round participant. I've signed up for 50 dollars per year. I'm greeted with an upsell offer that includes access to five or four different items for just $75 per year. That's a 50% jump but it's also 50% more income you've already earned from the customer during the first year," Michael explains. Over the next few years of membership, this member is going to generate five to seven times more revenue.

"Think about what you can incorporate into existing advantages to provide a more satisfying experience. Effective upsells can bring in huge amounts of money that are otherwise money left in the sand. You will have members in your organization who longing for more," Michael concludes.

One of the advantages of upsells is that they allow you to quickly locate folks at the opportune time and extract that value. The upsell will continue to hold this value for the next years and months if the member does choose to convert.

This should help you to improve your approach to onboarding. Feel free to reach out to us on social media should you have any questions. Good luck!